Re: Who Needs Open Access, and Why?

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 2004 14:48:39 +0100

Matthew Cockerill wrote:

> It's important to be be more specific about the question under investigation
> here, surely:

> When critics say 'there is no evidence that researchers WANT open access',
> do they mean:
> (1) "There is no evidence that researchers feel that a lack of open access
> to the literature in any significant way impedes their professional activity
> as researchers."

Dear Matthew,

Even statement (1) does not really meet the situation. People learn to
live with, accept, and work around the difficulties in their evironment. A
person might have what by any objective standard would be poor access, and
not realize it could be better. This can be well illustrated by Document
Delivery: an user pleased with services that deliver an artticle in one
week may not realize it can be done the same day at little additional
real cost.

The valid measure of the desire for new services is experimentation
and then trial implementation at increasing scales. OA has done
that. Those who have used it want more of it--what else would motivate
the discussions? The most dramatic quantitative example is that 95%
of the use of articles in both arXiv and journals is from arXiv.

I wish to correct my earlier posting: I have thought of a useful survey
question for an appropriate population. Users of OA can be asked what
they would feel about doing without it.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University
Received on Wed Oct 27 2004 - 14:48:39 BST

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